Laramie Dean is about one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. His bright smile, slick haircut, and dapper attire only solidify this.
His roots in music go back to Schenectady, New York, where he wrote his first song in 1986, “Surf Wolf” — though he had never actually heard surf music before. It's still his opener of every set to this day.
He played with a NY trio through the 1990s named West On 7, developing his style and studying surf music old and new. There was a revival in this sound at that time that exploded with the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.
Laramie ended up in Hollywood, Florida in 2001, and this is where we were graced with his presence in an everyday fashion. He worked at the Guitar Center in Hallandale, during the good days before Bain Capital took over, when it was still fun to just go to the store and all the cool cats would be working. Bone spurs in his foot sent Laramie onto his next journey.
So what do you do when you can't stand up all day selling guitars anymore but you still bang on the surf guitar? You sell your home in Florida and drive straight to Dick Dale’s ranch in California, the surf guitar master and originator, and get a job with him. Laramie lived on the ranch in Twenty Nine Palms and toured with Dale, playing and road-managing.
Over the years, Laramie not only rubbed elbows with surf legends; he lived it. Agent Orange, one of the first punk bands to dabble in surf music, became friends with him, and Laramie toured and played with them often. In 2008, he moved into the old Agent Orange apartment in North Hollywood, California, and has lived there ever since.
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All has not been roses for Laramie, though. While on tour in Europe with Agent Orange in 2009, he developed a staph infection. It seemed to be under control until it came back in 2011 while touring with Dick Dale. Laramie ending up in ICU, paralyzed on his right side. Then being put under a total of 24 times for surgeries on his right foot, knee, shoulder, and even his right eyeball (A Clockwork Orange-style), he persevered. He seemed healthy enough to tour in 2013 and even played Miami but ended up back in the hospital. He had three months' treatment in a hyperbaric chamber and has quit eating animal products thanks to “Forks Over Knives.” He feels the best he has in years.
Is Laramie road-ready again? Not exactly. He'll be flying in to play at Churchill’s in Miami this Saturday night, arriving with his righthand man and surf drummer extraordinaire, Jimmy Dale, who has the legendary lineage of being Dick Dale’s son.
Rounding out the all-star band being put together for this show is guitar god Juan Montoya, who will actually be playing lead bass. Returning on sax will be the great Adam Turano. Laramie will also be showing a movie made last year titled Surf 9 From Outer Space. To round out the bill, there will be other local legends: Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmackers, Charlie Pickett, and FTMF. Ten bucks gets you in.
Laramie Dean Plays Guitar From Outer Space!
8 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. 18 and older; Tickets cost $10. Visit Facebook for more information.